Sales Mobility vs Road Warrior

sales mobilityWhile we have come a long way from the days of Willy Loman, the fact remains that plenty of road warriors still ply their trade by spending quality time with prospects and accounts, in person rather than via teleconference or tweets.

Savvy B2B sales leaders understand that their customers buy from people, and the necessity to fly, drive, train, and yes, even have a beer or golf game is an ongoing reality for relationship-based sales effectiveness. What has changed, however, is the ability for field-based sellers to stay on the grid regardless of their physical location, activity or current state of web connectivity.

Aberdeen research conducted for Sales Mobility: How Best-in-Class Remote Sellers Are Replacing “See” with “Do” shows that among 250 sales organizations, the top performers are more fully embracing the processes and technology enablers required to fully enable their mobile and remote staff. Let’s consider how a few touch-points in a typical “day in the life” might look for this job role.

6:15 am

Considering that our rep is still on West Coast time, it’s not easy getting out of bed in Atlanta, so she reaches for her smart phone while waiting for the automatic coffee timer to kick in. Beyond checking e-mails, the real-time integration with her company’s CRM deployment indicates that two of today’s scheduled demos have been automatically upgraded from “preliminary” to “active” sales stages because the day of live meetings has arrived. She adds a note to one of them indicating that an additional project champion will be in attendance, and the system rewards her preparatory accomplishment by adding a “5% more likely to close” weight in the sales forecast. Research Note: sales reps for Best-in-Class companies carry an average of 2.44 company-financed devices, 13% more than under-performing companies.

7:45 am

Replenishing the hotel room coffee with the real stuff at Starbucks in the lobby before her first meeting, our rep uses her tablet computer to handle some e-mails more effectively then via her handheld , and also logs in to the collaborative team-selling application her company links with the CRM platform. Discovering that her Marketing team has added a valuable presentation relevant to one of her calls today, she downloads it, adds a couple of configurable elements specific to her prospect’s industry niche, and begins quietly rehearsing the demo. Research Note: more than half of all survey respondents access marketing content from the field.

10:00 am

The first meeting was a success, not only because of the customized tablet PC demo, but primarily due to the prospect’s enthusiastic response when our rep checked on inventory and delivery data on-demand. This should be no surprise: Best-in-Class companies are 50% more likely than all others to indicate that “Remote sellers regularly connect to the Internet and/or corporate data during prospect/customer meetings in order to support their activities with real-time information.” The rep clearly sensed that while a couple of competitors had gotten into this door prior to her meeting, they were still checking with their own corporate line-of-business counterparts on delivery specifics; she was thus able to leapfrog them and received a verbal commitment from the account’s main sponsor. She excitedly changes the sales stage to “likely” from her smart phone in the lobby while waiting for a cab, and en route to her next call sees three positive comments from coworkers on the social CRM stream that includes this opportunity.

11:30 am

Another building, another meeting, but this one is more in the phase of initial discovery. Much as Best-in-Class companies’ reps are 21% more likely than others to participate in web conferencing via remote devices, she preps in the lobby by checking out her prospect’s recent webcasts to understand their sweet spot concepts and most important products/services. She also conducts a short live chat with the company’s e-commerce reps to understand how they handle online customer inquiries – like 56% of Best-in-Class sales teams – and adjusts her planned line of questioning even more when she reads a last-minute tweet about their product recall, just before the meeting begins. Top-performing teams are 35% more likely than others to mobile-enable social media content, and she benefits accordingly when her meeting counterparts recognize her as a thoughtful, consultative sales rep fully aware of their immediate business concerns.

As for the afternoon, our sales rep uses her GPS-enabled phone to make more meetings on time, her tablet PC to video-chat with two sales engineers back in the corporate office, and both devices to keep the inbox from becoming overloaded. At day’s end she settles back into the hotel room with a more traditional laptop, though: spreadsheets are still a great way to use calculations to determine how much she should offer her prospects in discounts, and sending attachments is still relatively simpler from a non-handheld device. If you’re looking for a definition of the modern sales warrior, this day’s mobile activities paint a truly accurate picture.

This post is from the SAP Mobility iGuide The 21st Century Sales Warrior’s Guide to Mobility.